Network of Festivals in the Adriatic Region brings four fresh and unconventional film stories

For the second year running, ZFF’s competitive section will include the program of the Network of Festivals in the Adriatic Region, a regional film festival created as a collaboration between the Sarajevo Film Festival (BiH), Auteur Film Festival (Serbia), Herceg Novi Film Festival (Montenegro) and Zagreb Film Festival (Croatia). This year’s Network program brings four fresh European titles, while the best film voted by the audience will take the Adriatic Audience Award, presented at the end of the year at the Auteur Film Festivalin Belgrade.

These four charming, touching and suspenseful works have toured some of the most prestigious film festivals such as Cannes and Tribeca, while their skilfully told stories subtly raise questions about life, loss, love and (self)acceptance. One of the leading Romanian directors, Radu Muntean, explores the limits of generosity, empathy and the human need to help others in his new film Întregalde. The story of three volunteers who visit the remote Transylvanian villages to deliver supplies for its inhabitants turns into a tense drama, while the challenging situations arouse feelings of the seemingly good Samaritans that are less than altruistic.

Screened in the Cannes Critics’ Week section, French-Portuguese director Cristèle Alves Meira‘s fiction feature debut is an unusual, tender and imaginative coming-of-age story combining magical realism and elements of horror with family drama. Inspired by Portuguese folklore and beliefs, Alma Viva is a story about a little girl who faces the death of her beloved grandmother, while spending the summer with her mother’s family in a small mountain town in northeastern Portugal. The clash between modernity and tradition intertwines with themes such as spirituality and death, family and the local communities, belonging and non-acceptance.

Pink Moon by Dutch director Floor Van Der Meulen also deals with the loss of loved ones. A touching portrait of a family comprised of 74-year-old Jan and his two adult children, Iris and Ivan, in a completely unsentimental way, devoid of any moralization, poses complex questions about life and the possibility of deciding its end. When Jan confronts his children with his decision to end his life on the eve of his next birthday, Iris and Ivan are forced to face loss and grief even before their father’s demise.

Death is the triggering event in the Georgian film Wet Sand directed by Elene Naveriani as well, which takes main protagonist Moe from Tbilisi to a small village on the shores of the Black Sea to organize her grandfather’s funeral. However, in the seemingly peaceful, idyllic town, she learns that her grandfather carried the difficult burden of being labelled an outsider, for the sake of a 22-year-long love affair. The role in this melancholic, multigenerational queer story about hidden love and the right to happiness in a toxically intolerant social environment is philologist Gia Agumava’s first appearance on the big screen, for which he won the award for best actor at Locarno FF.

The audience will be able to watch the films in the Network of Festivals in the Adriatic Region program at the MSU and online, while more information will be published before the start of the Zagreb Film Festival.

Network of Festivals in the Adriatic Region is supported by the MEDIA sub-programme of Creative Europe.